Over the years, we’ve grown and thrived in several communities thanks to the dedication and selfless service of men and women like Patti Ann McDonald. This year we are proud to recognize Patti Ann McDonald as one of the honorees for our annual gala on November 7th. Continue reading to learn about Patti’s journey, her history of service, and advocacy for Community Mainstreaming.
Patti and her late husband, New York City police officer Steven McDonald, were married for 31 years. For 30 of those years, Steven relied on a respirator and lived as a quadriplegic. In 1986, Steven stopped to question three youths in Central Park and was tragically shot in the line of duty. At this time, they had been married for less than a year, and Patti was two months pregnant with their son Connor.
Nonetheless, Patti stood by his side, and they learned to navigate the new set of challenges together while adjusting to the new normal. Steven worked tirelessly to promote forgiveness and kindness throughout the world.
And whether he was visiting Northern Ireland to help Protestants and Catholics reconcile, presenting the annual Rangers’ Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award at Madison Square Garden to the player who demonstrated extra grit, or anywhere else in the world; Patti was there providing support, service, and making it all possible.
Over the years, Steven earned much-deserved praise for forgiving his assailant, giving witness that a life with a disability can be filled with joy and purpose, and serving as an international peace advocate. On January 2017 at the age of 59, Steven McDonald passed, but his legacy continues to live on.
A Life of Public Service
Shortly after Steven’s tragic incident in 1986, the couple decided to move to Malverne. And in 1996, Patti began her life of public service on the village board when she succeeded her father who passed the same year.
Her true pilgrimage of service started at home with the raising of Connor and with three decades of caregiving and transporting her husband on worldwide crusades for peace and forgiveness. The late Steven McDonald explained in a New York Times article dated March 24th, 2007 that “she’s the most selfless person I’ve ever met.”
Because of this, it was natural for Patti to take the next step in her life of public service: running and being elected mayor of Malverne in 2007. During her exceptional three-term tenure as mayor, Patti McDonald helped the village achieve countless milestones and complete a number of projects, including attracting more than $1 million in state and federal grants. Patti also oversaw:
- Renovations of the Long Island Rail Road stations and the downtown area;
- Construction of a headquarters for the Malverne Volunteer Ambulance corps;
- The modernization and expansion of Malverne’s parks;
- Upgrades of village infrastructure;
- And more.
In the process of serving as mayor and village board member, Patti received several awards for her excellence in office and public service. In 2018, she received the Pathfinder of the Year Award that recognizes women who have enhanced the community through education, volunteer work, and health services.
In 2017, Patti received the Christopher Leadership Award at the 68th annual Christopher Awards ceremony. This honor recognizes those whose actions, work, and examples serve as a guiding light to others. In all, Patti served 12 years as mayor of Malverne and more than 20 years as a member of the village board.
An Advocate for Community Mainstreaming
Two years ago, Community Mainstreaming was in the process of opening a home in Malverne. As a part of doing so, we notified the Mayor of our intentions, as is required by the “Padavan law.” At other homes, this process has been difficult with residents expressing prejudice and fears which can be very dehumanizing to people. Although these sentiments are not new, we have yet to become accustomed or numb to the frustration we feel when other people openly express ignorance and stigmas.
Far too often, local elected officials remain silent out of fear of upsetting their constituents and having to deal with the backlash.
However, Patti Ann McDonald — the mayor of Malverne at the time — did the very opposite. She first took the time to learn about who CMA is, which included a visit to our home in Massapequa.
She partnered closely with us and advocated for the home. She held an informational meeting for residents of the Village where CMA could explain what our plans were. She made sure to invite village residents who she knew would be supportive of the residence and the young women who will be moving there. She expressed her own open heartedness and told her village neighbors that she would expect them to act welcoming as well. The support continued to spread.
Patti Ann also offered her experience and understanding of the local permitting process to help ensure it went as smooth as possible. And today, Patti remains an active supporter of CMA. She has visited our homes, met with individuals and families, and is always willing to lend a helping hand within a phone call’s notice. We are honored she has decided to bestow her talents and selflessness to such a worthy cause and as a result we are honoring her at our 45th Anniversary Dinner November 7th – A Sapphire Affair at the Heritage Club in Bethpage. Tickets and sponsorships are available, to learn more visit our web site – www.communitymainstreaming.org
Join Us for the 45th Anniversary Community Mainstreaming Gala
At Community Mainstreaming, we’re proud to have a partner of the moral fortitude and willingness as Patti Ann McDonald. On November 7th, 2019, we will host the 45th anniversary Community Mainstreaming Gala: A Sapphire Dinner. At the gala, we will honor Patti, and we invite you to join us to help show your appreciation for what we’re doing and for a charity that Patti supports.